A senior civil servant at Britain's Ministry of Defence was on the payroll of the Sun for almost a decade, prosecutors claimed, as they charged the former editor of Britain's best-selling newspaper, Rebekah Brooks, and its chief reporter with plotting to bribe public officials.
Bettina Jordan Barber, a strategy officer at the MoD in London with responsibility for Afghanistan, allegedly passed information for stories to Rupert Murdoch's redtop tabloid between 2004 and 2012 in return for £100,000 ($196,000).
The Crown Prosecution Service revealed that charges of conspiracy to commit misconduct were being laid against Brooks, the Sun's long-standing chief reporter John Kay and Barber, following a police inquiry into newspaper payments to public officials.
They are said to have committed the offence during an eight-year period between January 1, 2004, and January 31, 2012.
The former News of the World editor Andy Coulson and royal editor Clive Goodman were charged separately with two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct over an alleged plot to obtain contact details for the royal family.
Scotland Yard has been carrying out three sprawling inquiries into illegal newsgathering at News International's headquarters in Wapping, east London, prompted by alleged phone hacking at the News of the World, which Murdoch shut last July.
Operation Weeting into phone hacking, Tuleta into computer hacking and other breaches of privacy and Elveden into corruption of public officials have made 97 arrests, of journalists, police officers, civil servants, prison and tax officials and members of the armed forces.
As a result, 20 people have now been charged.
Brooks, who edited the Sun between 2003 and 2009, and five others, including her husband Charlie Brooks, have been accused of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and conspiracy to hack phones.